Buncey: I can see Carl losing narrowly but I really hope I’m wrong

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Major British boxing journalist Steve Bunce is anticipating a razor-close fight in New York tomorrow between Belfast’s Carl Frampton and WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz.

The two face-off tomorrow night at the Barclays Centre, live on Boxnation and Showtime, and while Buncey is predicting a win for favourtie Santa Cruz, he believes that ‘The Jackal’ has “got a great chance.”

Speaking on The Nolan Show on BBC Radio NI, the Londoner described how Frampton has been written off by US pundits, who are now doing something of a 180 on the Tigers Bay puncher’s chances.

“They have underestimated him,” claimed the 53 year old.

“The Americans wrote him off because he’s not American.”

“The Americans rejected him because he doesn’t look very strong.”

“Santa Cruz, even though he’s Mexican, he’s based in America, he speaks fantastic English and more than that he is a star, four years, eleven World title fights, he’s in his third weight, he’s been an attraction on various American TV channels.”

“Until about Monday of this week what’s happened is that Carl Frampton was just the opponent, the guy in the other corner, a European, he was here to lose.”

“Suddenly this week I think it’s dawned on them that Carl Frampton is not there just to make up the numbers.”

“I’m not saying that they realised they have made a mistake, but they have realised that this is a real fight, a fifty-fifty fight.”

When pushed on a prediction, Bunce feels that Santa Cruz has the slightest of edges, but he really wants to be incorrect with this call. Explaining how he thinks the clash will play out, the Boxnation presenter notes how “unfortunately it’s a distance fight, it’s a hard fight and I can just see Carl losing narrowly on points.”

“I really hope I’m wrong.”

“I think he can win it, and he wont be blown away.”

“I would not at all be surprised if Santa Cruz nicks it on a really tight decision.”

“I’ll be stunned if one of the judges doesn’t go for Carl.”

“I can see the first of two fights here, how about a rematch next May somewhere outdoors in Belfast.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie